Best VIZIO Soundbars

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
475 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best VIZIO soundbars

Last Updated August 2019

The tech behind TVs has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade — innovations like 4K resolution, HDR, and smart TV apps have changed the game. But there’s one area where TV tech lags severely behind the times: audio. TV speakers generally sound tinny and often make it hard to distinguish dialogue from sound effects.

That’s where soundbars come in. These speakers connect to your TV and deliver high-quality audio. The right soundbar can make a big difference, especially if you get one from VIZIO, which make some of the best in the industry. Whether you want to hear every last word, or you just want the windows to rattle with on-screen explosions, a VIZIO soundbar is the perfect way to bring high-end audio to your TV.

VIZIO offers dozens of different soundbars, each with different tech on board ranging from multiroom audio to Dolby Atmos, so it pays to know ahead of time what you do and don’t need. But that’s what you have us for, so let’s dig into everything you need to know to find the perfect VIZIO soundbar! And check out our favorites when you’re ready to buy.

Don’t forget to turn down your TV’s built-in audio once you’ve set up your soundbar. Your soundbar will take over all your TV’s audio duties, but you do have to remember to let your TV know that. Use the TV’s remote to set the volume to zero so your soundbar is the only speaker playing back audio.

Key considerations

To help you determine which VIZIO soundbar is right for your setup, start by answering these questions.

Are you into surround sound?

Most movies and many TV shows feature surround sound — multichannel audio tracks that immerse you in the experience by placing the sound all around you. If you’re a fan of surround sound, you’ll want to get a VIZIO soundbar with virtual surround, a technology that uses multiple speakers to bounce sound off your walls and make it feel like it’s coming from different directions. If that’s not your thing, save some money and go with a two-channel audio soundbar.

The thinnest soundbar around

The SB4531-D5 is an interesting take on soundbars: it’s an ultra-slim speaker that connects to a separate box for audio processing. By putting all of the speaker’s “brains” in a separate unit, the speaker can stay super thin, so it fits in better with your décor. It’s also no slouch under the hood — it’s got Chromecast functionality built in and even supports DTS. If you need a soundbar that won’t crowd your personal style, this is one of your best options.

Do you have room for a subwoofer?

Many VIZIO soundbars include a subwoofer to help bring in the low end of your television’s soundtracks. Subwoofers can make a huge difference in making audio sound more realistic, but they’re typically pretty bulky, so not everyone has room for one. We recommend getting a VIZIO soundbar with a subwoofer, so long as you have room for both

Will you use your soundbar to listen to music?

Many VIZIO soundbars can connect with your smartphone to stream music, which can be an easy way to make your favorite tunes sound great. If you’re in the market for a soundbar that can connect to your phone’s audio as well as your TV’s, get one that supports either Bluetooth or WiFi.

EXPERT TIP

Many VIZIO soundbars include surround speakers that in many cases need to be wired to the subwoofer. Most consumers buy soundbars so they don’t have to deal with the wires of a full-blown surround sound system, so wired rear speakers can be a tough sell even though they add a lot to the audio experience.


Staff  | BestReviews

VIZIO soundbar features

VIZIO soundbars run the gamut in terms of extra features they bring to the table. Here are the ones that are worth holding out for.

Google Assistant compatibility: If you’ve got a Google Home device, you can use it to control some VIZIO soundbars. If you’re into the convenience of voice commands, or you just want a soundbar you can activate by saying, “Hey Google,” look for one with Google Assistant support.

WiFi: Some VIZIO soundbars have embedded WiFi, so they can bring new functionalities like Chromecast audio or so they can work with VIZIO’s custom app. If you’re into streaming music from your phone to your soundbar, grab one that’s got built-in WiFi.

Dolby Atmos support: Dolby Atmos is the latest and greatest surround sound format that creates a sound stage based on the layout and size of your TV room. It can make anything from quiet dialogue to intense thunderstorms sound incredibly realistic. If you want to hear your TV shows and movies in the most lifelike audio available, get a soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos.

Experiment with subwoofer placement. Subwoofer audio is “directionless,” which some people take to mean you can place it anywhere, which isn’t exactly true. While it’s hard to tell where a subwoofer is with your eyes closed, placement still matters. As always, trust your ears over any advice you get.

VIZIO soundbar prices

Inexpensive: VIZIO’s entry-level soundbars cost between $50 and $130. In this price range, you’ll find a lot of smaller, two-channel options and a few that include a subwoofer. If you’re looking for a soundbar for a dorm room, apartment, or using with a secondary TV, you’ll find a good match for around $100. If you’re buying a soundbar for a larger space, plan on spending a little more

Mid-range: The best values in VIZIO soundbars are between $100 and $220. If you’re looking for a soundbar for your main TV, or one that’s got some or all of the bells and whistles — like a wireless subwoofer, Bluetooth, or compatibility with Google Assistant — this is the price range to keep in mind.

Expensive: VIZIO’s best soundbars cost between $220 and $400. Spending this much money on a soundbar can be a tough proposition because it’s roughly the cost of a basic surround sound system with multiple speakers. If you’re looking for a soundbar that’s big, loud, and includes features like support for Dolby Atmos or built-in WiFi, you’ll need to consider the most expensive options (which still offer better values than other brands).

EXPERT TIP

Some VIZIO soundbars have LED displays with information such as the audio format being played. Others include a single light so you can tell when it’s on. Spend some time thinking about your ideal setup. Some users find displays distracting; others like the useful details they provide.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Get a VIZIO soundbar that supports multiroom audio. This is the way to go if you enjoy playing music throughout your home. Multiroom audio was a niche feature that’s quickly becoming a must-have. Some VIZIO soundbars work as Chromecasts, meaning you can use Google’s Chromecast app on your smartphone to stream directly to your soundbar. And if you have multiple Chromecast devices, you can play your music through all of them simultaneously.
  • Determine how you’ll be connecting your soundbar to your TV. Do this before you set anything up. VIZIO soundbars can connect to your TV using HDMI or a standard optical cable. Think about which you want to use ahead of time, keeping in mind that you may need to buy additional cables.
  • Drill into the studs. If you’re mounting your VIZIO soundbar to the wall, make sure to drill into the studs. Soundbars are pretty heavy and require a lot of support to stay up, so drilling into drywall won’t cut it. Save yourself the headache of a collapsed soundbar and wall damage and mount yours to the studs!

Perfect for apartment life

If you’ve got limited space, check out the VIZIO SB2920. At just 29 inches long, it’s made for smaller spaces, but with 95 decibels of power on board, it can still bring the noise when you need it. Our favorite part: it’s got Bluetooth built in, so streaming music to it is a snap. If you’ve got limited space and high expectations, this is the soundbar to get.

Other products we considered

One of our favorite middle-of-the-road options is the VIZIO SB3821-C6. It offers a solid balance of high-end features (like Bluetooth and DTS support) while still maintaining its entry-level simplicity and price tag. It’s also got a wireless subwoofer to give the low end some oomph. If you’re not into surround sound and just looking for a “set it and forget it” soundbar, this is the one to get. If you’re looking for something just as simple but with even better audio, consider the VIZIO SB3651-F6. It’s on the expensive side for VIZIO, but it provides a nice mix of features for budget audiophiles. It’s got a pair of satellite speakers for surround sound, a wireless subwoofer, and it supports high-end audio formats like DTS:X. If you need to compromise on price but not sound quality, put this one at the top of your list.

Remember that everything needs to be plugged into a power outlet. Soundbar pictures often hide an important detail: the plug. While it makes sense that you’ll need to power your soundbar, a power outlet is something to remember in your planning. If you have a subwoofer, you’ll need to plug that in, too.

FAQ

Q. How loud do VIZIO soundbars get?
A.
It depends, but most VIZIO soundbars can produce around 100 decibels (dB). Soundbars with multiple built-in speakers (like those that support Dolby Atmos) can get louder than smaller units with only two speakers. The bottom line: VIZIO soundbars can get loud enough for just about any viewing space.

Q. Can I use a VIZIO soundbar with my universal remote?
A.
Maybe. Most universal remotes work by using infrared (IR) signals, but not all VIZIO soundbars work with IR-based remotes. Instead, they accept commands over WiFi, so you can use an app as a remote control. If you want to use a universal remote with a VIZIO soundbar, make sure the one you buy accepts IR commands, or check your remote’s documentation to see if it can send commands over WiFi (some high-end universal remotes can).

Q. What are the differences between the Dolby Digital and DTS audio formats?
A.
Dolby Digital and Digital Theater Sound (DTS) are two of the most common digital surround sound formats available, developed by competing companies. Dolby Digital audio is the more popular — your cable TV set-top box and streaming box likely use it as a default. DTS audio is more commonly found on DVDs and Blu-rays. Both Dolby Digital and DTS have advanced versions (including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X). If you’re a casual TV watcher, a soundbar that supports Dolby Digital will be more than suitable. If you’re a movie buff, look for one that supports DTS.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jaime
    Jaime
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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